Your Testicle Size Says A Lot About Your Sexual Life: Like any other body part, the size of testicles, a pair of oval-shaped organs producing sperm, varies from person to person. The average length of a testis or testicle is between 1.8 inches to 2 inches. Testicles lesser than 1.4 inches can be considered as small and they indicate low production of the male sex hormone testosterone. Oversize testes, on the other hand, hint at over production of this hormone. “Clinically speaking, when your testicles do not develop completely or shrink later in life due to various medical reasons including low or no production of male sex hormone, you suffer from hypogonadism. Also, if due to the over-production of testosterone hormone, your testicles become too big, you may be suffering from hypergonadism,” says Dr. Anant Kumar, Chairman of Uro-Oncology, Robotic & Kidney Transplantation at Max Group of Hospitals.
WHAT DO ENLARGED TESTES INDICATE?
Oversized testicles, which come with symptoms like increased sex drive, early baldness, excessive muscle mass, and persisting acne, may hint at underlying conditions that affect your sexual health significantly.
Increased testosterone levels: Excessive secretion of testosterone hormones during puberty leads to puberty before time. This may occur with symptoms like rapid onset of changes in the body related to sexual maturity. However, if it hits later in life, men experience enlarged testes that may lead to heart disease, sexual dysfunction, and high blood pressure. A study conducted at the Harvard Medical School, Boston has revealed that excessive levels of testosterone in the body is a crucial risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Tumour: Excessive production of testosterone, also known as hypergonadism, is suspected to be a sign of tumour in the testes. Watch out for symptoms like heaviness in the scrotum and dull ache. A tumour may require surgical removal.
WHAT DO SMALL TESTICLES INDICATE?
When your body stops producing enough testosterone, a condition known as hypogonadism, your testicle size shrinks. Hypogonadism may lead to infertility, absence of secondary sex characteristics(eg. muscular body, broad shoulders, growth of testicles and pubic hair, broader chest, and chest hair) and other abnormalities. Notably, there are two types of hypogonadism: Primary and secondary. “In primary hypogonadism, the problem originates in your testicles. They either stop or secrete minimal testosterone. However, in secondary hypogonadism, problems arise in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.” These are the brain parts responsible for signalling the testicles to produce testosterone. Both the conditions either occur due to some genetically inherited traits or acquired later in life due to some injury or infection. Let’s look at the conditions which may lead to primary and secondary hypogonadism.
Mumps orchitis: It is an inflammation of the testicles either cause by a bacteria or virus. This can affect the testosterone production and usually manifests through tenderness in the scrotum, painful urination, blood in semen, etc.
Undescended testicles: It is a condition in which a male child’s testicles fail to descend into their correct position during the early stage of development. Normally, this problem gets resolved within a few years on its own. However, if that doesn’t happen, it may lead to malfunction of the testicles and reduced production of testosterone.
Hemachromatosis: It is a hereditary condition in which your body absorbs too much iron from the foods you eat. This excessive iron gets stored in different organs leading to various diseases and conditions including pituitary gland dysfunction affecting production of testosterone hormones.
Injury to the testicles: Testis injury can take place in many ways. Getting kicked or hit by a ball when playing, or a vehicular accident can injure your testes. Damage to one testicle may not impair the production of male sex hormones. However, if both of them get damaged, hypogonadism can occur.
Inflammatory disease: Certain inflammatory diseases including histiocytosis, sarcoidosis, and tuberculosis affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland causing secondary hypogonadism and affecting testosterone production.
Pituitary disorder: Considered as the ‘master gland’ of the body, it is responsible for producing various hormones that direct certain processes or stimulate other glands to produce hormones. Any abnormality in the pituitary gland can impair the production of these hormones including testosterone. Also, a tumour located in or near the pituitary gland may cause testosterone or other hormone deficiencies.
Stress: Stress increases the level of cortisol hormone in the body. And, a study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, has revealed that increase in cortisol level decreases the production of testosterone hormone.
Obesity: Obesity is strongly linked to low testosterone levels in men, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care has revealed. However, the mechanism behind it remains unclear.
HIV/AIDS: A research published in the International Journal of STD & AIDS has revealed that HIV/AIDS is linked to low testosterone levels in men. According to the doctors, there is no clear explanation behind this association. However, they assume that HIV may itself impair gonadal function and cause loss of testosterone production.